Fishscale is the fifth studio album by American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, released March 28, 2006, on Def Jam in the United States. The album features guest appearances from every member of the Wu-Tang Clan, as well as Ghostface Killah's Theodore Unit. It also features production from several acclaimed producers, such as MF DOOM, Pete Rock, J Dilla, and Just Blaze, among others. The album follows an organized crime theme, and is named after a term for uncut cocaine.

Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 28, 2006 (2006-03-28)
GenreHip hop
LabelDef Jam
Ghostface Killah chronology
Put It on the Line
More Fish
Singles from Fishscale
  1. "Be Easy"
    Released: October 25, 2005
  2. "Back Like That"
    Released: February 28, 2006

Fishscale sold nearly 110,000 units in its first week of release, and debuted at number four on the Billboard 200, and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, making it the highest charting Ghostface Killah album since his 1996 debut, Ironman.[1] The singles "Back Like That," and "Be Easy" entered the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, with the former peaking at the 14th position.[2] Upon its release, Fishscale received universal acclaim, with critics praising the album's cohesiveness, lyricism, and production. As of November 2009, the album had sold 332,000 copies.[3]

Background edit

In January 2006, a sampler was released containing full versions of "Be Easy," "Back Like That," and "Kilo," as well as shortened versions of "Big Girl" and "Charlie Brown". It also included an alternate version of "The Champ". "Charlie Brown," which was produced by MF Doom, contained a sample from Caetano Veloso's "Alfomega" that did not ultimately receive clearance, and the song did not appear on the final album. Similarly, "The Champ" was not cleared and an altered version found its way on to the album.

J Dilla created his two productions for Ghostface,[citation needed] but also used them on his instrumental album Donuts; MF Doom's productions are taken from his Special Herbs series of albums.

Critical reception edit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [5]
The A.V. ClubA[6]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[7]
Los Angeles Times.    [8]
Mojo     [9]
Q     [11]
Rolling Stone     [12]
The Village VoiceA+[14]

Upon its release, Fishscale received universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 88, based on 32 reviews.[4] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called it a crack-trade "trend record that ranks with any Biggie or Wu CD". He found Ghostface Killah's stories to be as "vivid, brutal, and thought-out as any noir" and felt that the music features "a powerfully souled and sampled Clan-type groove" and a "screeching intensity" similar to Public Enemy's 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.[14] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Raymond Fiore said that "he may not be reinventing himself with Fishscale, but as a must-hear street storyteller, Ghostface Killah's still at the top of his game."[7] Matt Barone from XXL wrote that, "with a few forced collaborations being its only flaw, Fishscale is Ghost’s most addictive dosage post Supreme Clientele. Packed with vivid street tales, comic relief and straight spittin’, the album continues his standard of excellence."[15]

Steve Jones from USA Today wrote that "Ghostface takes a timeworn hip-hop theme — dealing cocaine, and creates a riveting listening experience. He doesn't so much deliver rhymes as narrate graphically detailed scenes, rife with violence, passion and a little humor."[16] AllMusic writer Andy Kellman wrote in his review "...Ghost responds by pouring all that he has, both lyrically and vocally, into every track on the album. The scenarios he recounts are as detailed and off-the-wall as ever, elaborate screenplays laid out with a vocal style that's ceaselessly fluid and never abrasive."[5] In Q, Ted Kessler wrote, "Rappers rarely improve with age, but Wu-Tang Clan veteran Ghostface is the exception… Whether Ghostface's explaining how to cook crack on 'Kilo', how he likes his hair cut on 'Barbershop', or how he came to swim with 'SpongeBob in a Bentley Coupe' on 'Underwater', he remains rap's finest storyteller."[11] In his review for The A.V. Club, Nathan Rabin wrote:

"In contrast to his aggressive delivery on The Pretty Toney Album, Ghostface is far more relaxed, confident, and eclectic here. One of rap's most cinematic and sophisticated storytellers, he fills his pulp narratives with so much novelistic detail that it's impossible to catch everything on the first listen. Thankfully, the kaleidoscopic, soul-drenched production by Doom, Pete Rock, Jay Dee, Just Blaze, and others make repeat listens seem tempting, even downright irresistible. Sure, Fishscale has its share of pointless skits. But that's what the fast-forward button is for, just as the play button seems to have been designed specifically to let people listen to Fishscale over and over again."[6]

Accolades edit

Fishscale was ranked as one of the best albums of the year.[citation needed] It also appeared on several lists for best albums of the decade, with Stylus Magazine ranking it number eleven.[17] Uncut ranked it number 62 on their 150 Best Albums of the 2000s,[citation needed] while Pitchfork ranked it number 75 on their Top 200 Albums of the 2000s, stating "History will remember Fishscale as Ghostface's Magical Mystery Tour: an artist convinced of his own genius empties every chamber on a batshit, pseudo-conceptual headtrip."[18] In 2009, Rhapsody ranked the album at number nine on its "Hip-Hop’s Best Albums of the Decade" list.[19] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[20] In 2022, the album was ranked 131st on Rolling Stone's list of the 200 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time.[21]

Track listing edit

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[22]

1."The Return of Clyde Smith" (skit)  1:04
2."Shakey Dog"
Lewis Parker3:44
3."Kilo" (featuring Raekwon)
4."The Champ"Just Blaze4:09
5."Major Operation" (skit)  0:06
6."9 Milli Bros." (performed by the Wu-Tang Clan)MF DOOM4:14
7."Beauty Jackson"J Dilla1:32
8."Heart Street Directions" (skit)  0:54
9."Columbus Exchange (skit) / Crack Spot"
  • Coles
  • Lakeywen Brown
  • Art Posey
  • Josef Powell
Crack Val2:21
10."R.A.G.U." (featuring Raekwon)Pete Rock2:39
11."Bad Mouth Kid" (skit)  1:10
12."Whip You With a Strap"
  • Coles
  • Yancey
  • Johnny Baylor
  • Luther Ingram
  • Johnny Northern
  • Randall Stewart
J Dilla2:51
13."Back Like That" (featuring Ne-Yo)
14."Be Easy" (featuring Trife)
Pete Rock3:19
15."Clipse of Doom" (featuring Trife)
16."Jellyfish" (featuring Cappadonna, Shawn Wigs and Trife)MF DOOM3:50
17."Dogs of War" (featuring Raekwon, Cappadonna, Sun God and Trife)
Pete Rock4:04
  • Coles
  • Steve Wallace
  • John Fowlkes
  • Roger Genger
Studio Steve1:56
19."Ms. Sweetwater" (skit)  0:14
20."Big Girl"
  • Coles
  • Lamar Bryant
  • Robert Douglas
Ghostface Killah3:35
22."The Ironman Takeover" (skit)  0:05
23."Momma" (featuring Megan Rochell)Sean C & LV4:49
24."Three Bricks" (bonus track) (featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Raekwon)4:58
Total length:64:48
Sample credits

Personnel edit

Charts edit

References edit

  1. ^ Hasty, Katie (April 5, 2006). "T.I. Rules As 'King' Of Album Chart". Billboard. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  2. ^ Artist chart history for Ghostface Killah (singles),
  3. ^ "Long Player: XXL Presents Def Jam's Entire Rap Discography". XXL: 70–74. November 2009. Archived from the original on October 3, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Reviews for Fishscale by Ghostface Killah". Metacritic. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Fishscale – Ghostface Killah". AllMusic. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (April 11, 2006). "Ghostface Killah: Fishscale". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Fiore, Raymond (March 27, 2006). "Fishscale". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 25, 2006. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  8. ^ Baker, Soren (March 26, 2006). "Rapper tips the scales still further in his favor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  9. ^ "Ghostface Killah: Fishscale". Mojo (151): 104. June 2006.
  10. ^ Dombal, Ryan (March 27, 2006). "Ghostface Killah: Fishscale". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Kessler, Ted (June 2006). "Ghostface Killah: Fishscale". Q (239): 115.
  12. ^ Ringen, Jonathan (March 20, 2006). "Fishscale". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 22, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  13. ^ Shepherd, Julianne (April 2006). "Ghostface Killah: Fishscale". Spin. 22 (4): 41–43. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (May 2, 2006). "Consumer Guide: Dear Mr. President". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  15. ^ Barone, Matt (March 3, 2006). "Ghostface: Fishscale". XXL. Archived from the original on March 24, 2006. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  16. ^ Jones, Steve (March 27, 2006). "Ghostface Killah slings uncut rap on 'Fishscale'". USA Today. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  17. ^ "The Stylus Decade Top Albums". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on January 11, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  18. ^ "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 100–51". Pitchfork. September 30, 2009. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  19. ^ Chennault, Sam (October 31, 2009). "Hip-Hop's Best Albums of the Decade". Rhapsody. Archived from the original on September 24, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
  20. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (2014). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  21. ^ Weingarten, Charles Aaron,Mankaprr Conteh,Jon Dolan,Will Dukes,Dewayne Gage,Joe Gross,Kory Grow,Christian Hoard,Jeff Ihaza,Julyssa Lopez,Mosi Reeves,Yoh Phillips,Noah Shachtman,Rob Sheffield,Simon Vozick-Levinson,Christopher R.; Aaron, Charles; Conteh, Mankaprr; Dolan, Jon; Dukes, Will; Gage, Dewayne; Gross, Joe; Grow, Kory; Hoard, Christian; Ihaza, Jeff; Lopez, Julyssa; Reeves, Mosi; Phillips, Yoh; Shachtman, Noah; Sheffield, Rob; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Weingarten, Christopher R. (7 June 2022). "The 200 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 8 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ Fishscale (booklet). Def Jam. 2006.
  23. ^ " – Ghostface Killah – Fishscale". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  24. ^ " – Ghostface Killah – Fishscale". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  25. ^ "Chart Log UK: Gina G – GZA". Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  26. ^ "Ghostface Killah Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  27. ^ "Ghostface Killah Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  28. ^ "Ghostface Killah Chart History (Top Rap Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  29. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 2006". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2020.

External links edit